5 Ways Small Businesses Can Still Compete in the Facebook News Feed

With 1.4 billion daily active users all over the world, Facebook harbors a wealth of information that brands and advertisers are dying to get their hands on. In the last 5-10 years, Facebook has been the go-to for many small businesses looking to increase their visibility and brand recognition on a budget. Why? Because Facebook ads are cheap in comparison to traditional advertising and give mom-and-pop shops a way to compete with huge brands in the News Feed. This catapulted Facebook’s success and created its identity as an affordable, effective advertising platform.

But with Facebook’s recent algorithm update, small businesses have much to worry about. Focusing more on interactions between friends and family, Facebook decided to show less content from brands and businesses in the News Feed… meaning the stakes just got higher. Not only does this drive home the fact that SMBs need to create better, more engaging content, but it also means that the price of prime News Feed real estate is going up. Expect to pay more for ads in the coming weeks.

Reach, referral traffic and video views may also see a significant decrease. In its statement, Facebook said, “The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

Bummer, right? Just when we thought we figured it out, Facebook throws another wrench in our marketing plans. However, there are still a few ways small businesses can compete in the News Feed with this algorithm change.

Share engaging real content.

The best kind of content on Facebook is the kind that looks natural and feels authentic. Photos and videos of real people, doing real things, in real places drives conversions. So what does that mean? It means user generated content is going to be your saving grace. These are the types of photos and videos that shoppers want to see, and it’s also what beckons them to react to the post or even shop your store. Now that Facebook is ranking content based on how many reactions and comments it gets, your content needs to be good enough to garner those engagement events. Consider collecting user generated content from your customers by hosting contests and use that content in your big campaigns.

Increase your budget.

There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. You need to increase your budget and learn the ins and outs of Facebook Ads Manager. This will allow you to dig deeper and promote your best content to highly targeted audiences, ensuring your ad dollars are being spent effectively. If you’re not sure how to do this, give this blog a read to get the 411 on creating better Facebook ad campaigns.

Focus on your local angle.

Facebook also announced that it would be prioritizing local news and content from publishers. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, this may be an untapped opportunity to try to get involved in local events and promote local news mentions on your Facebook feed to your businesses geographic area. This may help your content get more local engagement, therefore benefiting your overall Page reach and engagement.

Embrace going Live.

Even though you may not like being in front of the camera, it’s time to start thinking about live streaming. Facebook Live is ideal for showcasing the behind-the-scenes clips of your business, introducing new products, holding contests and even hosting discussions with your followers. Because Facebook tends rank its newest tools, especially video, higher in the News Feed, going Live is a great way to get in front of your audience and engage with them without wasting budget.

Consider starting a Facebook Group.

The masterminds behind Facebook (cough, cough, Zuckerberg) are really pushing users to participate in more meaningful conversations through building communities. But now that Facebook allows businesses to create communities as well, there’s never been a better time to start one to engage with your customers. Invite customers, followers and like-minded individuals to join your group to talk with them about a topic that relates to your business. For instance, a business that sells organic baby clothes could create a group for moms that want to know more about organic products recommended for their kids. Sparking a conversation can not only increase your engagement, but grow your audience and even help boost sales.

Have you started seeing a decrease in reach and engagement? Let us know if you have experimented with any of the strategies above and if they have worked for you!